Despite the fact that we’re ushering in a new age of purchasing and upgrading our game software, we haven’t been deterred from dropping bills on gaming’s relics. With digital media, everything old and dusty, is now new and digitally. But let’s set our blind nostalgia aside for a moment. Truth be told, some games, unlike wine, do not age particularly well.
That’s what I’m here for. I’m hoping to start a series of entries exploring the old “gems” that are available through PlayStation’s online service. PSN is my DeLorean, and I’ll be informing you what games are better off left in the past. These are not reviews per se, as we all read the reviews when these titles originally came out. It’s more of an analysis of how the game holds up compared to today’s standards. If you like this first entry, please share your thoughts and provide feedback on what else you’d like me to cover, and if you’d like me to try out any specific games.
First up: The original Crash Bandicoot. Now, to preface this, I never played Crash Bandicoot, or any Crash-related game outside of Crash Team Racing. I was a late adopter of the PlayStation console, so I’m pleading ignorance to the series. That said, Crash was the unofficial mascot of the early PlayStation days, and I figured it was fitting to start my trek through the glory days with this odd-looking marsupial.
As far as the technical aspects of the game go, it runs fine and the graphics are still very vibrant. Imagine the opposite of Killzone 2 and you’ll get the picture. No surprise, though, as it looks like a PlayStation game, but it’s not a hodgepodge of pixels. You’ll have no trouble coming back and looking at this game, as you trudge your way through the 30+ platforming levels. The sound has also held up well, from Crash’s ecstatic “Yeehaw” to the husky chant of the tiki mask power-up. Hearing that chant certainly gets me in the mood to pummel some giant skunks, turtles, or any of the other seemingly defenseless animals Crash beats up on.
While Crash may not have been heralded as the premier platformer back in the day, he definitely has the basics down. The controls, movement and jumping are tight and fluid, and quite frankly, they need to be. This game is hard – ridiculously hard! I knew I was playing a game from the “olden” days, not when I looked at it, but after I shouted my 50th expletive and threatened to pound my controller into the ground.
My neighbors love me!
It’s not an impossible hard, like say, any of the Mega Mans, but any game where you need to collect three items in a level, just to travel to the save level, which also happens to be a level that you can (and will) die in, is hard. Oh, and if you do die in the bonus save level, too bad, you don’t get another shot it. Yeah, you have to wait until the next bonus round comes up – which might not be for another two levels.
But this is all a part of the challenge and the nostalgia. If they had implemented a 21st century save system, all that frustration we experienced in the 90s wouldn’t be present. I’m all for keeping the save systems in tact from the old days, even if the cost is my sanity. I did have to promise myself I would take a break from the game, because if I had soldiered on, I might have punched a hole through my drywall. Or twelve holes. So as of this writing I’m about 22 levels in, out of 32, and surprisingly enough, the game appears to get harder as you move on. Like a true masochist, I’m eager to see how torturous the final stages are.
If you’re interested in rekindling some platforming fire from earlier, simpler times, and you’re foolhardy enough for a ridiculous challenge, I certainly recommend picking up Crash Bandicoot from the PSN store. It will put you through your paces, and you’ll get a solid all-around experience. You may even get some hair on your chest and knuckles – even if you’re a girl.